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California declares state of emergency

Latest update : 2009-04-28

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (pictured) has declared a state of emergency in California as the death of a Los Angeles man is investigated for possible links to swine flu. But the governor's office emphasised that there was "no need for alarm".

AFP - California declared a state of emergency to tackle the swine flu outbreak on Tuesday as authorities said they were investigating the death of a Los Angeles man for possible links to the disease.

A statement from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's office said that while there was "no need for alarm," the emergency declaration was necessary to help limit the spread of swine flu.

"While there is no need for alarm, it is the governor's top priority to limit the swine flu's spread as quickly and effectively as possible," the statement said.

The declaration came as authorities in Los Angeles confirmed they were probing the recent deaths of two men who had exhibited flu-like symptoms shortly before dying at hospitals in the area.

Later Tuesday Los Angeles County public health officer Jonathan Fielding ruled out swine flu in one of the cases.

However the other case continued to be investigated after initial tests proved inconclusive. "We have no confirmed swine flu cases at this time," Los Angeles County coroner's office assistant chief Ed Winter said.

If confirmed the Los Angeles case would be the first US fatality from swine flu, which is believed to have killed 152 people in Mexico.

California officials on Monday confirmed 11 cases across the state, although none have been reported in Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the United States with slightly more than 10 million residents.

However Los Angeles health officials said they were fully expecting an outbreak in the region.

"It's here -- just a matter of time," said Laurene Mascola, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health's Acute Communicable Disease Control.
 

Date created : 2009-04-28